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Gardening: Birds, Herbs and Bulbs

Notes for the winter garden.

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Still time to plant

It’s not too late to plant Dutch bulbs. They’re better off in the ground than in your refrigerator. You can plant as late as Jan. 15, but the bulbs will bloom later than normal.

Club scholarship

The Garden Club of Virginia is offering a $5,000 scholarship plus expenses to document historic properties in the state. Graduate students in landscape architecture are eligible to participate. Deadline to enter is Jan. 15. Contact Sally G. Brown at SGuy2021@aol.com.

Windowsill herbs

Some herbs can be grown successfully indoors during the winter, while others will languish. Herbs that do not do well indoors include sweet basil, lemon verbena, summer savory and tarragon. They will go dormant or shed their leaves. Herbs that will do well in a south-facing windowsill are oregano, thyme, parsley and sage. Grow them in small pots and trim as needed for the kitchen. In the onion family, consider chives, onion sets or garlic cloves. If you have only an east- or west-facing windowsill, try mints such as peppermint, spearmint or lemon balm. Provided they are sheared regularly, they can make excellent houseplants. All those listed like cool nighttime temperatures of 60 degrees F.

Landscaping site

An interesting Web site, as reported by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is this one for green landscaping: www.epa.gov/reg3esd1/garden. Its primary points are: Use a greater variety of plants, primarily natives; reduce lawns and change maintenance practices; apply a natural design; reduce the use of power equipment; conserve natural resources; control storm water; compost yard waste; apply integrated pest management; create a wildlife habitat; avoid and remove invasive plants; protect natural areas; and use plants to reduce heating costs.

Ornamental grasses

Landscape designers fell in love with ornamental grasses 10 to 15 years ago and now you find grasses everywhere. Jack Blandy of Stony Bank Nursery is quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer saying, “They are adaptable to many situations and can be planted in large drifts or as a single plant. But they do have drawbacks. Today, some are being described as ‘thugs’ because they grow aggressively and can spread many seed heads.” If you plan to use ornamental grasses, make sure to use only those that are not aggressive. HS

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